Szczur with the Daytona Cubs in 2011
|Chicago Cubs – No. 20|
July 20, 1989 |
Cape May Court House, New Jersey
|August 17, 2014, for the Chicago Cubs|
(through 2016 season)
|Runs batted in||37|
|Career highlights and awards|
Matthew Francis Szczur (//; born July 20, 1989) is an American professional outfielder for the Chicago Cubs of Major League Baseball (MLB). He played college football and baseball at Villanova University prior to signing a professional contract with the Cubs in January 2011.
Szczur was born in Cape May Court House, New Jersey, and grew up in the Erma section of Lower Township, New Jersey. He attended Lower Cape May Regional High School, where he earned varsity letters in football, baseball, and track and field. Szczur was drafted in the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft out of high school by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 38th round, but decided to attend Villanova University instead.
Szczur played wide receiver, running back, wildcat QB and was a return specialist on special teams for the Villanova Wildcats football team. He gained 270 all-purpose yards and scored two touchdowns in a winning effort in the 2009 NCAA Division I FCS football season National Championship Game helping Villanova capture their first NCAA Football Championship. He was named MVP of that Championship Game. Also was a consensus All-American and 2009 CAA Offensive Player of the Year.
Matt also played centerfield for the Villanova Baseball Program.
Professional baseball career
Szczur signed a contract with the Chicago Cubs organization, which drafted him in the fifth-round of the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft. He received a $100,000 signing bonus, with an additional $500,000 if he declined to attend the NFL combine and made a written commitment to baseball before February 10, 2011. He was assigned to the club's short season Class-A team, the Boise Hawks, and first appeared in uniform July 8, 2010. He was then promoted to the club's mid-A team, the Peoria Chiefs on July 27, 2010. He hit .347 in 25 games in 2010.
After the 2010 season, Szczur committed to baseball and signed a $1.5 million deal with the Cubs in January 2011. As he was released from his initial contract and signed a new contract to receive the bonus, he would have been eligible in the 2011 Rule 5 draft if not added to the Cubs' 40 man roster.
In 2015 Matt would spend time with the Iowa Cubs but would be recalled to Chicago on June 2.
On April 29, 2016, Szczur hit his first Major League grand slam against the Atlanta Braves in the 8th inning, putting the Cubs up 6-1. In 2016, Szczur played 107 games batting .259 with five home runs and 24 RBI. The Cubs finished the season with a 103-58 record, and eventually ended their 108-year drought by winning the World Series over the Cleveland Indians. Although Szczur was not present during the playoffs, he would still win his first world championship.
In 2009, Szczur donated bone marrow to a 15-month-old Ukrainian girl named Anastasia battling Leukemia. Szczur essentially saved the girl's life given the severity of her condition and how hard it would have been to find another person that was a match for bone marrow. He met the healthy 4-year-old girl and her parents via Skype using a translator who was present at Anastasia's house. It was documented in E:60 Risking it All, which is one of ESPN's E:60 presentations.
- "Matt Szczur". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
- Pleskoff, Bernie. "Cubs' Szczur developing in Arizona Fall League". MLB.com. Retrieved 29 July 2016.
- Cubs, Matt Szczur have deal ESPN.com, January 18, 2011
- "Player Bio: Matthew Szczur - VILLANOVA OFFICIAL ATHLETIC SITE". Villanova.com. July 20, 1989. Retrieved June 13, 2010.
- "Cubs pick Lower Township's Matt Szczur in fifth round". pressofAtlanticCity.com. June 9, 2010. Retrieved June 13, 2010.
- "Draft News - Baseball America". BaseballAmerica.com. Retrieved March 10, 2015.
- "Minor League - Baseball America". BaseballAmerica.com. Retrieved March 10, 2015.
- "Florida State League Transactions". July 2011. Minorleaguebaseball.com. Retrieved July 26, 2011.
- "Matt Szczur is Headed to Tennessee". MLB.com (BornOnThird blog). July 27, 2012. Retrieved October 20, 2016.
- Chicago Tribune (August 17, 2014). "Matt Szczur promoted - Chicago Tribune". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved March 10, 2015.
- "Lower Township's Matt Szczur is officially a Major Leaguer". pressofAtlanticCity.com. Retrieved March 10, 2015.
- Bastian, Jordan; Muskat, Carrie. "Chicago Cubs win 2016 World Series". MLB. Retrieved November 3, 2016.
- "Star of Villanova's FCS title, Matt Szczur, may help save the life of a 15-month-old girl". nydailynews.com. December 20, 2009. Retrieved January 31, 2011.
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